London has lots of hidden gems (those places that are really special and off the regular tourist trail) for you to discover if only someone would tell you about them. Here's your inside scoop on 10 great and quirky London attractions.
Bank of England Museum
Can you lift a gold bar? You can give it a go at the Bank of England Museum! It weighs 13kg and you can put your hand into a hole in a cabinet and lift the bar. There's no chance of stealing it but it may be the only time you get to touch something so densely valuable.
Dennis Severs' House
Dennis Severs' House in Spitalfields is not a museum but a private home that opens to the public as a time capsule to London's past.
American Dennis Severs lived here, without electricity and other home comforts, while also creating a Huguenot silk weaver's home for Mr, Isaac Jervis, his family, and their descendants.
The Jervis family are imaginary but attention to detail here is incredible, although do not be mistaken into thinking that historical accuracy was the driving force behind this project.
This fascinating museum opened in 1988 and tells the story of the five Foot Guard Regiments of the Household Division. These are the Guards that protect the Queen and perform the Changing of the Guard ceremony daily outside Buckingham Palace.
You can dress up in a guards tunic and bearskin cap and have your photo taken as a souvenir. For a small fee, they print the photo and give you a certificate to take home. The tunics have been altered to child sizes by a military tailor, who just happens to work at the museum, so they are the real guards uniform. Where else can you do that?
Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheatre
The Gallery was established in 1885 to house and display paintings and sculpture belonging to the Corporation of London. The collection includes portraits from the 16th century to today, plus views of London from the 17th century.
Roman London's Amphitheatre was discovered in 1999 and is under the Guildhall Art Gallery. The amphitheater was used for entertaining soldiers and the public with animal fighting and public execution of criminals, as well as religious activities
The Courtauld Gallery in Somerset House is a stunning 18th-century Neoclassical palace. The art collection features works from the 14th century to the present day.
The Courtauld is best known for its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, including works by Monet, van Gogh, and Cezanne.
Inner Space is a meditation and self-development center in Covent Garden in central London. After visiting the bookshop, try the free Quiet Room where you can relax and unwind. What an oasis of calm in such a busy city!
The Wallace Collection's afternoon tea is famous, but there is also a national museum which displays the artworks collected in the 18th and 19th centuries by the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the 4th Marquess.
It was bequeathed to the nation by Sir Richard's widow, Lady Wallace, in 1897. The paintings include Hals's The Laughing Cavalier and artworks by Titian, Rembrandt, and Velázquez, as well as medieval and Renaissance objects and an array of British arms and armor.
Sir John Soane's Museum
Sir John Soane was an architect and avid collector of antiquities and art. Expect to be stunned by the building itself as well as the exhibits, which include the sarcophagus of Seti I in the crypt and Hogarth paintings in the picture gallery. An absolute treasure trove and well worth a visit.
Gresham College Free Public Lectures
Gresham College doesn't have any students, nor does it teach courses. It's an educational institution of higher learning that exists to provide free public lectures. There are many free things to do in London.
The lectures span subjects from art and literature to science and maths and have been running for over 400 years.
Entering the Grant Museum is like walking into a laboratory with all the specimen jars, glass cabinets, and skeletons. But what's really great is that you're allowed to be there!
It's not very big so allow just an hour for a visit. You'll see some freaky stuff including a dugong skeleton (now extinct), an elephant bird egg (also now extinct), and a mammoth tusk which is at least 12,000 years old.